3/21/11

How to Get Started

I've had a lot of time to think while we've been traveling.  I don't like to talk about this much, and so I'm only going to say a tiny bit about it.  If you've read my bio, I mention that I experienced a life-threatening illness a few years ago.  I'm sort of superstitious about it, and so I don't talk about what happened or the treatment it took for me to get well.  I'm fearful that mentioning it or dwelling on it will bring it swooping down on me again.  Besides, it's just plain unpleasant to think about.  And that's all I'm going to say about it.

I need to bring it up, however, for any of this to make sense.  When one nearly dies, it takes a long time to come back.  Longer than you might imagine.  Until recently, I've been checked out of life, not really able to find a way to accomplish the things that once came effortlessly.  Over the past nine months or so, my health has seemed to improve exponentially.  I find myself looking around and wondering how things got to be in such a shambles.  That's not to say that my living situation is chaotic, but I suddenly feel very far behind with a strong urging to catch up.

I'll also say that quilting saved my life.  I didn't learn to quilt until July of 2008, although I'd wanted to learn for a long time.  There's something about the color and order of it that has been transformative for me.  I found energy for quilting that I couldn't muster for the more mundane parts of my life.  (Thank goodness I'm not trying to raise children at this point, although I'll promise you that the job of parenting never ends--even when your children are adults.)

So that brings me to the point of this post.  Our recent trip seems like a transition from the low-energy, low-motivation, but quilt-frenzied self that I have been to an opportunity to become the high-energy, multi-interest, able-to-accomplish-anything self that I once was (before I got sick).  I was a competitive swimmer in my youth, and lap-swimming is still my favorite form of exercise.  I haven't done it in at least two years.  I want to again.  I want to de-clutter my house.  I want to get my lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers started in the greenhouse.  I want to get back to baking and cooking with the enthusiasm I once had.  I want to take my camera and go for walks in the woods with George.  I find myself with lots of ideas about what I want to do, but overcoming the inertia of the last several years is proving more difficult to overcome than I had hoped it would be.  It's simple physics:  an object at rest [me] tends to stay at rest.

It doesn't help that we haven't yet been home a week.  There are lots of things that need attending to simply by virtue of being away from home for a long period of time--both business and personal.  Things are falling into place, but we're not yet back to anything resembling a routine.  I was able to finish one of the quilts that I'd defined as a UFO, and that is a significant accomplishment.  Still, I feel restless about getting going on the rest of my good intentions.  Tomorrow would be a good day to go to the pool and get started swimming, but I know as I write this that I won't go.  Why not?  I'm not sure.

I think I'm expecting that everything will be in place and orderly before I can re-enter the life I want to live--the life I used to live before I got sick.  I suppose I'll need to be patient--never one of my strong suits.  My activities didn't fall off instantaneously and they won't resume instantaneously either.  I'm of a mind to give myself until Monday of next week to feel more into a routine, and then try to add just one new activity at a time.  Trying to start everything at once is probably overwhelming, and it makes me not want to start anything at all. 

Patience, Grasshopper.  One day and one thing at a time.

10 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Little by little, bit by bit. It’s taken me thirty years to learn that but now it’s embedded. May your dreams fall into place as your strength returns.

Laura said...

My huaband had a liver transplant 5 years ago and struggled with the idea that he would not be healthy again. He has done extremely well and has confidence again, but it took a long, long time. I takes a while to become sick, and it stands to reason that it would take a long time to become well, physically and mentally. Hang in there and keep plugging away in the right direction. If you find that your aren't moving in a positive direction, there is no shame in seeking professional help.

I mailed the fabric I promised you, today. I hope you enjoy it!

quiltzyx said...

I understand what you're saying Barbara. I didn't have an illness, but I was sole caretaker for my Mom when she began her decline into Alzheimers. For serveral years it seemed like my days became a routine of Mom-work-Mom-sleep, repeat. Not much else fit into the format. It's taken me a few years to get back into being creative & doing something other than a sort of hibernation.

We learned to walk with baby steps. You're starting to take bigger steps now, so you will get there! Don't forget to celebrate each step!!

Kate said...

Your idea of adding one thing at a time makes sense. I know when I have a bunch of stuff that has to get done, I have to pick just one and get it moving, then it gets easier to add things.

Deborah in Atlanta said...

So glad you're finding your inner self, Barbara. The inner self that has been missing from your life for years. I think you're approaching this the right way - one step at a time. God bless you as you begin this journey to recovery. Recovery of the 'old Barbara'. Old as in "former", and not old as in years. I tried putting "former" in the sentence, and it just didn't have the same oomph to it!

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

My mother in law nearly died two years ago, and yes it takes a very long time to recover. I also had a fall and factured my back last August and I am still trying to regain. The body wants to heal itself, but we just have to sometimes give it time. I hope that you will be back enjoying life again.

Mommarock said...

My husband recently went to a 20 year reunion of a life changing event for both of us.. I was unable to attend, but the pictures have motivated me! I actually got my fanny on the treadmill today! Whooo hooo! Seeing everyone in the pictures we knew 20+ years ago makes me want to see them again at the next reunion and not want to be the old fart in the crowd. I just started my peppers, and tomatoes with my son I think I need to start my cukes.. I didn't start them early.. thanks for the reminder!

Kritta22 said...

I too, have had an illness that makes you step back and just be. Cause that's all you can do when healing.
My friend said, baby steps get the job done too. It's stuck with me. Even if it's just plugging in your sewing machine, it's a baby step to getting something done.
I like to make lists with even little things like brush teeth, to be able to cross stuff off the list.

I hope you're doing well today.

LethargicLass said...

I like the idea of a list with even the little things... I think a sense of accomplishment helps one to want to so more...

*HUGS*

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Don't wait until everything is in order. Just go have fun.

Billie in TX